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Homework Help: Universe of numbers

  1. May 23, 2007 #1
    I got a question for uni about whether numbers and mathematics have an independent existance, or are simply a human invention... i personally believe they have an independent existence, but i doubt my lecturer will appreaciate an essay on my own point of view haha...

    does anyone know some of the theories that are out there on the matter? its a very interesting question, but iv only gotten as far as Plato's physical and platonic worlds... not much real science or maths involved in it were i found my info haha
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2007 #2
    PS. i didnt know where 2 put this question... it doesnt really fit here =P
  4. May 23, 2007 #3
    It sounds like a question that requires an opinionated response, so I think your own point of view is exactly what they're looking for, as long as you have support of course.
  5. May 23, 2007 #4


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    Well the existance of something metaphysical without beeings with reasoning going on in their head is not what you want to have in a naturalistic world view ;)
  6. May 23, 2007 #5


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    The philosophy of mathematics covers this and related questions. You can start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mathematics#Contemporary_schools_of_thought", which summarizes Platonism, Logicism, Empiricism, Formalism, Intuitionism, Constructivism, etc. There are plenty of options.

    Oh, also, these arguments usually apply to all mathematical objects or theories, not only specifically to numbers, so you'll probably want to check and keep that in mind.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
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